by David Schuster
In the midst of all the big time summer movies (some good and most bad) comes a Woody Allen flick, "Midnight in Paris" Now I'll admit that I would love for Allen to revisit his early successes like "Bananas, "Sleeper" and "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex". Those movies were off the wall hysterical. He then followed those up by moving into a different direction with flicks like "Annie Hall", "Zelig" and "Broadway Danny Rose". And then he went (in my opinion) in the dumper with a string of movies that were just plain boring. But with "Midnight In Paris" Allen has delivered his best movie in years.
Owen Wilson plays a typical Allen character who is unsure of his life and travels over to Paris to see if he truly wants to be a full time novel writer. He is accompanied by his fiancee, Rachel McAdams who as time goes by gets more and more distant. While in Paris Wilson starts roaming the streets at night and one evening he gets into an old car which is inhabited to his surprise by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Yes, the real McCoy as some how he got transported back in time to meet up with some of his heroes.
Along the way he meets Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein and the famous french painter, Gauguin. He also meets a beautiful woman played by Marion Cotillard and falls for her almost instantly.
Wilson goes back and forth from the present to the past and his experiences in both time frames begin to shape his future decisions. There are some wonderful small performances in this movie (an Allen staple) from Cathy Bates, Adrien Brody and even Carla Bruni(the wife of the current French President).
Allen wrote and directed this movie and his touch is all over it. The music is a mix of french and jazz (his favorite) and the scenery and costumes are fantastic. This movie will get a lot of technical Academy Award nominations in both categories and deservedly so. I've been to France and the pictures Allen shows you in the first five minutes took me right back to my first hand experiences of being there.
This is a clever and thought provoking movie with one good performance after another. Even Wilson is really good and I've never been a huge fan other then "Marley And Me" which was great. Good for Allen to get back on track in a major way...a home run - three and a half stars for "Midnight In Paris."